A Qantas Boeing 737-800 flying from Brisbane to Sydney late last month became the first commercial flight to land at Sydney airport using Airservices Australia's experimental Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS).

The air traffic services provider is developing GBAS in conjunction with partner Honeywell, with the two forming an alliance earlier this year to develop and commercialise satellite-based landing systems.

The aircraft landed on Sydney's runway 16 left using the Cat-1 GBAS instead of the airport's instrument landing system. Approval for the landing followed an 18-month project involving Airservices, Boeing, Honeywell, Qantas and Sydney airport. Nine of the airline's 737-800s are approved to use the GPS-based landing system under trial parameters.

A fully certificated production GBAS is expected to be available in two years, says Airservices. The partners are also developing a Ground-based Regional Augmentation System (GRAS) which is intended to provide coverage for small commercial and general aviation aircraft. GRAS and GBAS combined are expected to provide a single gate-to-gate landing system for all aircraft types.

Meanwhile, Airservices Australia has released a new safety guide in an effort to reduce runway incursion incidents at the country's airports.

The safety guide, which is being distributed to all pilots throughout Australia, is part of an ongoing campaign by the air traffic services provider to reduce runway incursions.

Airservices says it is also working with the major airports of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to introduce the latest surface monitoring equipment.

In addition, the service provider's automatic dependent surveillance - broadcast programme is expected to enhance positional awareness.

Source: Flight International